The day that 'The Independent' could be heard as well as read
In what was a broadcasting first, presenter Richard Bacon hosted his BBC Radio 5Live show in the newsroom of The Independent yesterday, dedicating his two-hour programme to an industry that finds itself at the centre of the news as well as reporting on it.
With stories about privacy super-injunctions, phone-hacking and the use of subterfuge by journalists finding their way onto television news bulletins, the UK press is facing intense scrutiny of its standards and ethics. Bacon's presence on the news floor allowed him to give his audience a unique insight into the construction of two daily national newspapers, The Independent and i.
The presenter was guided through the editorial process by Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of The Independent and i. He attended the newsroom conference, posting cheekily on his Twitter account a photograph of a flag bearing the logo of the Daily Mail, which operates from the same building.
During the show Bacon spoke to leading industry figures, including the political commentator Steve Richards of The Independent and Daniel Finkelstein, chief leader writer of The Times. As the discussion turned to the ongoing phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World, the presenter took a call from the actor Hugh Grant, who revealed that he had been visited by police with evidence showing how he had been targeted by a private investigator who was hacking phones at the paper's behest. Bacon expressed regret that no tabloid newspaper had been willing to participate in the programme.
He said he had the idea of visiting The Independent after Mr Kelner had appeared as a guest on an earlier edition of his radio show.
Bacon, who confesses to being a "bit of a newspaper groupie", said the experience had left him as excited as a Bruce Springsteen fan that had just visited the rock star back stage after a show.
He also said he had been impressed by the launch of i.
"We have talked about i on our programme when it launched and I really like it," he said.
"I think it's fresh and has defied the odds by finding a sizeable audience so quickly in print form, at a point where people think that print media is exclusively in decline.
"i to some degree has given the lie to that."
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